Putting My Director’s Hat Back On…

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This time last year I was on a shoot for an ad agency as their copywriter. I’d written the scripts, casted the actors, formulated a shotlist, and put together sides with alternative lines.

When we got on set I picked where the shots would take place and confirmed them with the director of photography. At the time, we didn’t have a creative director. I’d requested that our temporary creative director come to the shoot to be in charge and make sure the client was happy. Continue Reading →

Photo Diary: Santa Fe, New Mexico

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I have a few good photographer friends here in Denver, and last December one of them asked me to assist her on a shoot for Wall Street Journal Magazine in Santa Fe, New Mexico (article here). I jumped at the chance– New Mexico is an amazing, otherworldly place that feels more Martian than American. And it’s only a 5 hour drive from Denver. 

Despite having a shoot in San Jose the week before and having only a day to myself in between, it was so totally worth it. I think a normal person would have said “no” after a harrowing 5 day shoot on the West Coast, but then again, normal people don’t have to make rent the same way I do. Onward, New Mexico! Hi ho, Sangre de Cristo Mountains! God damnit, higher altitude than Denver! With cracked hands and smiling faces, we plunged onward into the Santa Fe suburbs for what ended up being a flawless photo shoot. Continue Reading →

The Subjective Arts

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This is a topic that’s been on my mind a lot lately: everything I write, shoot, create, and make a living on, is 100% subjective.

This thinking comes hot off the heels of several reviews I got for my feature length screenplay, Two Wolves. Some reviewers gave it an 8/10 on a certain website (only about 5% of all scripts submitted are an 8 or higher). Then I got a random 3/10 by someone whose expanded feedback was literally the same as my higher-scored review. Then, another competition that I entered made me a semifinalist. Writing: It’s Fucking Crazy!

All joking aside, it’s kind of depressing how if you’re an artist, filmmaker, photographer, writer, whatever– your work needs to be somehow validated. Everything you make is for an audience, and it’s amazing how differently people react to things. Continue Reading →

Successful Self Care Investments, Plus a Few Flops

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As I get older it takes a lot more to maintain my good mood, healthy glow, and physical well-being. I’ve stopped doing my Forever 21 splurges and drugstore makeup binges in favor of thoughtful investments for myself. Here are a couple that have paid off, along with a few fails.

1. A gym membership

This is nothing new, but I think a lot of women discount going to the gym in favor of taking classes. I used to be one of these women, but now do a nice mixture of both. For me, the upside has been being able to go to the gym and do cardio, weight-lifting, whatever I want, at my own speed. I recently tore a muscle and had to do some PT. Since I couldn’t take any dance or barre classes, I’m glad I had an (albeit lame) elliptical option to aid my recovery.

And then there are times when I just don’t want to do an hour’s long class. That’s when I just do a quick weight lifting and cardio circuit before peacing out after half an hour. Continue Reading →

Our Honeymoon Part V: Getting Cranky in Krka

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Ah, every holiday has this moment: the moment you wish you could just head home and get comfortable and watch your Netflix queue with your favorite pillow and your cat. By the end of our treks through Sveti Stefan, Dubrovnik, and Hvar, it was safe to say that we were getting cabin fever.

The big meals of seafood and risotto and pasta were weighing us down, and all we really wanted was a bowl of pho and our flatscreen. Unfortunately, I get really cranky when I don’t exercise. Like, really cranky. Eating all this heavy restaurant food was really affecting my mood, and after a shoot in the British Virgin Islands, a wedding, and our honeymoon (all in one week!) I was ready to get back to a healthier routine.

We left Hvar and took the ferry to Split, where we immediately headed straight to Krka for its gorgeous waterfalls. I’d dreamed of the waterfalls at Plitvice’s much-larger park, but it was simply too far away to fit it in on this trip. So we headed to Krka, about an hour away from Split, and got ready to navigate in our rental car without any cell service and no GPS. Ah, did I mention how much we missed cell service?

Continue Reading →

Our Honeymoon Part IV: The Highs and Lows of Hvar

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This is part four of the honeymoons series. Click here to see parts one, two, and three.

It’s fair to say that after running around Dubrovnik nonstop, we were finally ready for that lay-on-the-beach-and-do-nothing kind of vacation. We drove our little rental car from Dubrovnik to Drvenik, stopping as we crossed the border into Bosnia again for a hot second. Continue Reading →

Freelance Life: The Pros and Cons

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I’m interrupting the honeymoon series to post something that’s been at the top of my mind lately: freelance life vs that 9-5 grind.

Everyone’s work experience is incredibly different, from moms juggling a new baby (love Gina’s blog!) to freelancers that are constantly traveling in order to get more clients.

When I graduated from undergrad, I immediately rented office space and started my own film production company. I think I made about $22,000 that first year, but thanks to living with my parents, it was enough for me. I loved making my little films and helping small business grow through video. Yet despite being paid to do what I love, I still felt like I needed a “real” job– the kind that offered a 401K and had a break room. I watched The Office and jealously wondered what it was like to have coworkers and team meetings and a direct deposit salary. Seriously. Continue Reading →

Our Honeymoon Part III: Bits and Pieces of Dubrovnik

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To see part II of the Honeymoon Series, click here.

After lounging on the beaches of Montenegro, I was already itching to stretch my legs and explore. The thing about weddings is that they take you out of commission, mentally and physically, for days afterwards. Our lobotomy in Sveti Stefan was just what we needed, but by day three, I was getting a little stir crazy. Dubrovnik took care of that.

Thankfully, our AirBnb was the perfect HQ to explore the city. Gorgeous views of Dubrovnik and the old city were laid out below our stunning (and private!) balcony. Fresh pomegranates, lemons, and olives grew alongside the narrow stone pathways to our house, perfuming our commute to and from downtown. And our hosts! They chided us for not telling them we were on our honeymoon. To celebrate, they baked us fresh pastries and gave us solid recommendations on food and activities. It’s safe to say that Dubrovnik is now one of my favorite cities thanks to this kind couple. Continue Reading →

Our Honeymoon Part II: Kotor, Peljesac, and an Adriatic Roadtrip

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This is the second installment of Our Honeymoon series. To see part I, click here

We headed out from Sveti Stefan, Montenegro, a little unsure of ourselves. Our goal was to check into an AirBnB that night in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and grab oysters on the Peljesac peninsula for AG’s birthday. But without a GPS or a data plan on our phones, navigating across 2 borders was going to be a challenge.

“Did you check the route on Google? How long is it?”

“Only 2 hours!” my husband replied.

“Let me see that.”

I grabbed the phone and noticed that part of our route included going over the Adriatic sea.

“Hmm…did you know we’re supposed to take a ferry on this route?”

“No…”

Ferries are fine, and we planned to take a long one from Croatia’s coast to the island of Hvar later in our trip. But a ferry from Montenegro to Croatia would mean waiting for the ferry schedules to line up with ours, as well as paying for fare. I didn’t want to sacrifice going to Peljesac for an hour’s wait then take a pricey, 20 minute ferry ride.

“There’s this other route, here.”

“Yeah, but that one goes through Bosnia.”

Bosnia Herzegovina– a mysterious country we’d only associated with the words Kosovo and Serbia and the war. But we’d only be in the country for an hour before crossing to Croatia. So…

“Let’s do it.” Continue Reading →

2015 #YearOfOlivia

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The Olivia from January of 2015 was very different from her December self. I had just moved to a new city, didn’t have a job, was living in a 300 sq. ft studio with my boyfriend, and knew only a handful of people. AG kept saying, “Don’t worry. 2015 is the Year of Olivia.”

Whenever I’d get frustrated with life or the job hunt, he’d just shout “HASHTAG YEAR OF OLIVIA!” and make my mean mug bust up laughing.

Lo, as soon as February hit, the changes began pouring in. I got a day job at an agency. I went to SF for a film shoot. I got engaged.

By Spring, the hits just kept coming. I was on shoots every month for my day job, but I’d been given the opportunity to go on shoots for my freelance work, too. So I said goodbye to my 9-5 and took the plunge months before our wedding and weeks after buying a house.

Well, AG must have been clairvoyant, because by summer, I was definitely feeling like my hashtag. Continue Reading →